Simon Harris to apologise in Dáil over children’s hospital statement

Minister told Fianna Fáil TD that budget was on track despite learning a month earlier of overruns

 Minister for Health Simon Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris will apologise for telling the Dáil the budget for the national children’s hospital was on track at a time when he had recently learned of a significant escalation in cost.

On September 18th, Mr Harris told Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen that capital expenditure on the project was “in line with the expected expenditure profile.”

Mr Harris had been told on August 27th that there were significant additional costs of €191m, plus a further €200m which was being disputed.

Fianna Fáil has called on the Minister to correct the record of the Dáil.

A spokeswoman for Mr Harris has indicated that he will make a statement on the matter this week, and will apologise for not providing additional information at the time.

“The Minister made it clear at the Oireachtas Health Committee that whilst he couldn’t have provided figures that were commercially sensitive and far from definitive in a PQ more than 2 months before final figures were known, he wishes he had inserted some initial information - specifically referencing the fact that there was a process underway to finalise pricing for Phase B.

“So whilst the PQ was answered factually correctly, the Minister will be happy to apologise for not providing such context.”